OTHS students excel at SWIC academic challenge

(Photo by James Bressendorff, SWIC)

O’Fallon Township High School students recently won first place in the Unlimited Division of the Academic Challenge sectionals held at the Southwestern Illinois College Belleville Campus. 

O’Fallon team members include: from left, first row, Stephen Monson, Julia Gundlach, Lucas Biehn, Nick Spihlman, Hannah Caraway, Sara Rizzoli, Connor Bleisch; second row, James Kelly, David Hur, Grant George, Blaine Gittner, Milee Patel, Kathryn Kim and Jen Zhao. 

Monson won first place in Varsity Biology and second place in Varsity Physics; Rizzoli won second place in Varsity Biology and third place in Varsity Mathematics; Zhao won third place in Varsity Biology; Biehn won first place in Varsity Chemistry and Varsity Physics; Kim won second place in Varsity Chemistry; Spihlman won third place in Varsity Chemistry; Bleisch won first place in Varsity Computer Science and first place in Varsity Engineering Graphics; Gittner won second place in Varsity Mathematics; Kelly won first place in Varsity Computer Science; Hur won second place in Varsity Computer Science and third place in Varsity Physics; George won first place in Varsity English and Varsity Mathematics; and Patel won second place in Varsity English. 

Students competed in timed tests in Math, English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Engineering Graphics and Computer Science.  

Ground breaking held for area cancer center

Ground was officially broken for Cancer Care Specialists of Southern Illinois and HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s comprehensive cancer care center in O’Fallon, Illinois on April 12, 2019. Pictured from left to right are James Dover, president and CEO of HSHS Southern Illinois Division, Dr. Justin Floyd, Sid LeGrand, president of the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce, City of O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach, Patti Fischer, president and CEO of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Dr. Mark Walshauser, Dr. Mary Ann de Paz, Dr. Bassam Maalouf and Dr. Benjamin Esparaz. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Cancer Care Specialists of Illinois held a ceremonial groundbreaking to highlight the future site of a new cancer care center that will offer comprehensive cancer services to patients in the metro east region.

The radiation oncology center is expected to open in early 2020. The 31,000 square foot comprehensive cancer care center, located at 321 Regency Park in O’Fallon, will be constructed by Green Mount Enterprises, LLC, with space being leased to both HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Cancer Care Specialists of Illinois.

Green Mount Enterprises President, Mark Walshauser, M.D., FACP noted “Green Mount Enterprises is excited to be developing the Cancer Care Center of O’Fallon that will be a staple of the community for decades to come. The cancer center was designed in a patient-centric manner truly making the needs of each patient a priority.” Walshauser continued, “We are certain with Cancer Care Specialists and St. Elizabeth’s now operating under one roof a synergy of state-of-the- art and compassionate services will be available to local residents.”

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital President and CEO Patti Fischer stated, “St. Elizabeth’s delivers high- quality Franciscan health care, and we continue to develop plans to bring needed health care services to patients in our region. With the addition of this radiation oncology clinic, cancer patients will have the opportunity to receive the excellent care they deserve in a location that is close to home.” 

Services and features of the new center will include:

• Medical Oncology, Hematology and Radiation Oncology Services

• Research and Clinical Trials (affiliations with National Cancer Institute, University of Chicago, NSABP Foundation, pharmaceutical trials and more)

• Diagnostic, Consultation & Follow Up Services

• Cancer Screenings, Cancer Prevention & Wellness Programs

• Education & Support

• Genetic Counseling

• Imaging (Bone Densitometry, CT, PET)

• Laboratory

• Chemotherapy, Infusion Therapy & Immunotherapy

• Radiation Linear Accelerator & CT-simulator

• Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

• Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

• Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

• Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)

“We are excited to be part of this historic new world-class cancer center which combines cutting edge treatments with a personalized focus for patients and families of O’Fallon and the metro east region of Illinois,” expressed Cancer Care Specialists President James L. Wade III, M.D, FACP. “As the only oncology group in the Metro East to have been awarded the Clinical Trials Participation Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (the world’s leading cancer professional research organization), Cancer Care Specialists is committed to quality-based programs and oncology affiliated networks which provide enhanced services and expertise to patients. Our new partnership with St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon magnifies these efforts and brings to this area its first comprehensive cancer center that folds all of these services together in one convenient, efficient, high-value care center that will be unprecedented in this region.”

St. Elizabeth’s is the only American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer designated cancer program in the service area of southwestern Illinois. “This comprehensive and multidisciplinary patient-centered recognition, coupled with the advanced radiation oncology services offered in the new center, will bring innovative treatment and experienced cancer specialists to the community,” Fischer added.

The clinic will benefit patients from across the region, especially those from smaller communities served by St. Elizabeth’s sister hospitals of St. Joseph’s in Highland, St. Joseph’s in Breese and Holy Family in Greenville.

O’Fallon EMS to host open house event on May 15

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Public Safety Department will be hosting an EMS Open House on Wednesday, May 15, from 5 – 8 p.m. at the O’Fallon Public Safety Facility, located at 285 N. Seven Hills Road.

“Our EMS Department provides critical emergency medical services that are second to none. I encourage everyone to join us in celebrating EMS week by attending the EMS Open House,” said Mayor Herb Roach. “The event is free and there will be fun for all ages!”

The event will include many fun activities for children and adults including CPR simulation, blood pressure screenings, and a landing by the Air Medical Helicopter, weather permitting. The event will be catered by Sweet Katie Bee’s and Sugarfire.

Prenatal and Infant Loss Memorial Services offered locally through Share Program

Jessie Mesa, RN and Share Coordinator for HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital stands with Reverend Ralph Williams and Father Linus Umoren during a recent Share Memorial Service for
families affected by the loss of a child. (Submitted Photo)

HSHS St. Elizbeth’s Hospital recently held a memorial service for parents and family members who have experienced prenatal and infant loss. These commemorative services will be held quarterly to offer comfort, closure and hope to families.

The service was held at Lake View Memorial Gardens in Fairview Heights, which generously donated the location for St. Elizabeth’s memorial stone. The stone is inscribed with the following message: “An angel opened the book of life and recorded my baby’s birth, then whispered as she closed the book, too beautiful for earth,” and “The Lord stood with me and gave me strength.” 2 Timothy 4:17, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.” 

“With one in four pregnancies ending in loss, we are pleased to be able to offer special memorial services to area families,” said Jessie Mesa, RN, Share Coordinator for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. “Even though early pregnancy loss is common, the feelings bereaved parents experience after the death of a baby can be overwhelming and intense, as the death of a baby at any stage is very real. Parents not only begin a journey of recovering physically, but also emotionally and spiritually, and our hope is that these memorial services will help in this process.” 

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s Share Memorial Stone, now located at Lake View Memorial
Gardens, serves as a place of remembrance and hope for families navigating the loss of a child. (Submitted Photo)

“We sincerely thank Lake View Memorial Gardens for their donation to St. Elizabeth’s Share Program to help our grieving families on their healing journey,” noted Reverend Ralph Williams, of the Spiritual Care Department at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. 

Each year there are 900,000 early pregnancy losses, over 26,000 stillbirths, and approximately 19,000 neonatal deaths in the United States. Too often, the grief and loss felt by parents may not be understood or accepted by society. Parents are often expected to simply pick up the pieces and move on – back to “normal” life. Even close friends and family sometimes struggle to understand the depth of emotions bereaved parents may experience which can both strain relationships and unnecessarily prolong the grief process.

St. Elizabeth’s partners with Share, a national pregnancy and infant loss support organization, to best assist families as they navigate losing a child. Share provides support toward positive resolution of grief experienced at the time of/or following the death of a baby. This support encompasses emotional, physical, spiritual and social healing, as well as sustaining the family unit. 

To learn more about support services through Share, visit www.nationalshare.org or contact St. Elizabeth’s Share Coordinator at 618-234-2120, ext. 31254.   

Estelle Kampmeyer names March Character Students

(Submitted Photo)

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School recently named their March Character Builder students. The Character Builder trait for March was patience. The following students showed great patience. 

Front row, from left: Desean Edwards, Sofia Chelbi, Gwen Privett, Vaida Blasdel, Chloe Armstrong, Charlotte Blazier. Middle row, from left: Jordanne Summers, Tyler Privett, Nic Dercks, Selena Dalechek, Delaney Klier. Back row, from left: Lily Crader, Liya Memani, Cameron White, Micah Runswick.

Lady Panthers basketball celebrates winning 2019 Regional Championship

This past season was a big one for the OTHS Lady Panthers who won the 2019 Regional Championship. The championship is the program’s first Regional Championship since 2007 and the second straight year with a record 25 wins.  

Five players made All Conference Team Selection for 2018-19 season: 

Kayla Gordon and Ashley Schloer – First Team  

Amelia Bell – Second Team

Izzy Akoro and Reyna Bullock – Third Team

Additionally, Coach Nick Knolhoff was honored as the IBCA-District 19 Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.

Moye Elementary announces April Character Students

(Submitted Photo)

Delores Moye Elementary School recently named their Character Education Students for the month of April. The Character Education word for April is Fairness – treating everyone equally.  The following are students who are being recognized for being fair.

Reese Taylor, Arya Hefley, Emoree Johnson, Sam Cring, Emma Grace Mason, McKenzie Juenger, Ittyan Shaban, Olivia Noakes, Maria Swepson, Cruise Knaute, Cooper Baskett, Benjamin Callahan, Brodie Forcha, Samantha Espiritu, Taya Wolford, Eli Gordon, Sam Bradley, Morgan Jennings, Cash Brown, Ian Hendrick, Jacob Organ, Addison Taake , Evan Schiefelbein, Bella Mitchell, Andrew Robey,  Dylan Fitzgerald, Miracle Brewer, Robert Kukorola, Kamarion Moore, Durrell Jones, Sorin Hessler.

New adult flag football league coming to O’Fallon

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – A new flag football league is coming to O’Fallon. 

Tyler Henson is bringing TUFF to O’Fallon. TUFF is short for The Ultimate Flag Football League. Henson is the O’Fallon Conference Manager, along with being responsible for all the sponsorship sales for the league. As a Conference Manager, Henson will be at the fields every week, hiring referees, videographers and other essential personal, to help the conference run smoothly. 

“As someone who has been involved with the league now for a year, worked with the owner, and also out at the Creve Coeur Conference, TUFF brings two words to mind, opportunity and visionary,” Henson said. 

If anyone in the community would like to participate, whether as a team (8 to 12 players) or as a free agent and get placed on a team, Henson looks forward to helping you sign up. TUFF is for players over the age of 18, however, if you are under the age of 18, but are still interested in participating, a written permission slip from parents is required. Registration can be completed by signing up online, www.tuffleague.com. 

“We are providing a platform to give adults an opportunity to showcase their skills to not just St. Louis, but LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, New York, and anywhere else we end up starting up in. It also gives people, like me, the opportunity to live out a dream of running a league of my own and developing this conference from the ground up,” Henson said. 

St. Louis was the first non-California expansion city TUFF brought its product to. O’Fallon was the perfect fit due to distance from Creve Coeur and also accessibility to premium field space for the season at the O’Fallon Sports Park. 

“As long as everything goes correctly, in the winter of 2021, we will be flying one team from each city out to LA to compete for The TUFF Cup all expenses paid. Imagine being flown out to LA and treated like a celebrity with camera crews following you and your journey to becoming the Champions of TUFF. That is the vision and what is intriguing to me,” Henson said.

Boy Scouts spend Saturday morning cleaning roadside

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – With warmer weather approaching, the young men of Boy Scout Troop 85 got up early last Saturday morning and went to work, on cleaning up one of the local highways. 

Service is one of the highest core values for the Boy Scouts. Throughout the year, the young men, scouts, and their leaders, scouters, donate a good amount of time doing service projects for their community. All the services the Boy Scouts provide is voluntary, but comes highly recommended that they participate, in as many as they can. When the Scouts gain enough service hours, they are honored by moving up in rank. 

Rob Smith has been a leader for the Boy Scout Troop in O’Fallon for the past four years. He is currently the Committee Chair, but previously held the title of Assistant Scoutmaster. 

“For all the community service that the boys and adults perform, they learn that it is important to give back to their community. From the Adopt-A-Highway program keeping the streets of O’Fallon clean to collecting food for the O’Fallon Food Pantry to performing service to our chartering organization, Central Christian Church, we strive to give back. Service is a paramount to the Scouting program,” Smith said. 

During the year, Boy Scout Troop 85, cleans up scattered trash through the Adopt-A-Highway program, three times a year. The Troop adopted a two-mile stretch on North Lincoln. 

Lady Panthers continue to roll over opponents

OTHS’s Brooke Thomas, left, and Olivia Branz, right, at Tuesday’s game against Kirkwood. (Photo by Tim Grout)

The Girls Lacrosse team continues to dominate their opponents, although they faced a strong opponent this past week forcing them to overtime.

On Wednesday, April 3, the Lady Panthers took on Nerinx Hall on the road. OTHS came away with the 15-11 victory. Olivia Branz was named the player of the game with her five goals, two ground balls, and her invaluable contribution in the transition.

On Friday, April 5, the Lady Panthers took to the field at the O’Fallon Sports Park to take on John Burroughs. This matchup proved to be quite competitive heading into a three minute sudden death overtime. Kaylie Grout scored the winning goal 37 seconds into the OT, giving O’Fallon the 11-10 victory. 

Amber Germuga was named the player of the game against John Burroughs thanks in large part to her her great defensive leadership.

This week the Lady Panthers traveled to Kirkwood to play on Tuesday, April 9. In a game that ended as the Weekly was being finalized, the Lady Panthers defeated Kirkwood 13-9. 

The team’s next game is Thursday, April 11, versus Parkway West High School.

Photos by Tim Grout

The Weekly studies abroad in Chile

This week we travel to the Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonia region of Chile, at the very southern end of South America, with Alex Lloyd and her copy of the Weekly. Alex is currently spending the spring semester of her junior year at Notre Dame studying abroad at the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. Thank you for taking us along Alex!

Are you going on a trip? Take the O’Fallon Weekly along with you! Just take a photo of the Weekly while away from home and email it to us for the Weekly Traveler.  Please include who is pictured and where the photo was taken.  Email photos to Nick@OFallonWeekly.com and please mark them “Weekly Traveler.”

Council committee given update on proposed vet clinic, special events

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – The Community Development Committee met Monday night, but was unable to take any action due to a lack of quorum. 

The committee received information about three special event permits and the second reading for the development known as Advanced Veterinary Center. 

A special event permit was submitted by Country Lane Produce for flower sales at 1790 W. Highway 50 for multiple dates in April, May and June. The business, Eagle TG, located 1728 Corporate Crossing submitted a special event permit for a weekly food truck through the end of the year, pursuant to the mobile food vendor ordinance set in place late 2018. The third special event permit request was from the Marie Schaefer PTO for the Fun Fest scheduled April 26, 2019 in which they are requesting road closure north of the school on Fifth Street for rides. 

No changes were made regarding the Advanced Veterinary Center due to a lack of quorum, but the applicant, Dr. Jim Bollmeier, addressed the committee asking for the council to consider changing the sign and fence requirement. The development will be located at 706 and 800 East Highway 50. The signage for the property at 706 no longer meets the city ordinance. Since the sign has been vacant for over twelve months, it must now meet ordinance requirements. Dr. Bollmeier is requesting an exception to allow the old sign to be used. 

The requirement for a six-foot, vinyl fence along the south side of the property has been changed a couple times since the filing of the application. Staff’s original recommendation was for a six-foot fence to be installed. The Planning Commission removed the fence as a condition when they approved the project on March 12. The Community Development Committee later added the fence back in as a condition which was approved by council on first reading on April 1. Dr. Bollmeier is requesting the fence requirement be removed, citing concerns for placement, erosion it may cause and cost. He did indicate a fence will be installed behind the property at 800 East Highway 50 because of dog walking area for the clinic.

Panthers split week with Belleville West, shut out Civic Memorial

Ben Koenig delivering a pitch in the Panthers 12-3 win over Belleville West
(Submitted Photo)

The OTHS baseball team continues to roll through the season, taking down opponents.

On Tuesday, April 2, the Panthers took to the road to take on Belleville West. OTHS would win by a huge margin in their first conference game, taking down the Maroons 12-3.

However, in a rematch held at Blazier Field on Thursday, April 4, Belleville West brought out their A-game and defeated the Panthers 9-4.

Josh Gibson hits a 3 run home run in the Panthers 12-3 win over Belleville West (Submitted Photo)

Not letting the loss a day earlier impact them, the O’Fallon boys rallied quickly and shut out Civic Memorial at Blazier Field, 1-0, on Friday, April 5.

Junior fiddler crowned Grand Champion at 40th annual contest

Grand Champion Lucas Thorpe of Collinsville, right, performs with Fiddler’s Hall of Famer George Portz, left. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Zoe Hall)

By Zoe Hall

O’FALLON – On Saturday, April 6, the 40th annual Fiddle Contest at KC Hall was held. Hosted by Fiddler’s Hall of Famer George Portz, this year’s contest saw contestants as young as nine years old compete for cash prizes. 

In the open division, the first prize winner was John Heizer of Jackson, MO. Following him were Herman Perry of Salem, Quentin Huck of St. Genevieve, Joshua North from St. Louis, and Dale Brashares of O’Fallon. 

Quinn Cadieux of O’Fallon
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Zoe Hall)

In the Junior division, Lucas Thorpe of Collinsville was awarded first prize, followed by Lillian Roever of Madonnaville, Elizabeth Worthington of Evansville, Quinn Cadieux of O’Fallon, and Noah Feldt of Mascoutah.

Lucas Thorpe was also awarded the prize of Grand Champion in this years contest, beating out 14 other contestants.

First National Bank of Waterloo teaches St. Clare students about saving

First National Bank of Waterloo’s Marketing Director Laura Mergelkamp discusses the importance of saving with third graders at St. Clare School. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – As part of a national program designed to help kids develop savings habits early in life, representatives from First National Bank of Waterloo visited the third graders at St. Clare School on Wednesday, April 3.

The students learned about topics such as interest rates, debit cards and the basics of where money comes from. First National Bank of Waterloo’s Marketing Director, Laura Mergelkamp, said the most important message they are trying to teach kids is that it doesn’t matter how you save, but it’s important to start saving.  

“This is a really fun program to be a part of because, so often, kids have never thought about how the money in the ATM gets there,” said Mergelkamp. “You can see their wheels turning once we start explaining that their parents’ paychecks get deposited into the bank and then can be taken out of the ATM. It helps them realize that the money isn’t limitless.” 

Mergelkamp said the program also focuses on teaching kids to make smart financial choices on a daily basis. Mergelkamp uses a ‘money tree’ to explain how every financial decision they make requires them to make a choice between saving and spending.   

“I often use cereal as an example. Kids usually want to pick the one with the really pretty box but they don’t think about the fact that it costs $2 more than the same cereal in a different box. It’s a good visual for them to see how quickly the money goes depending on the choices they make,” said Mergelkamp.

First National Bank of Waterloo’s employees travel to ten schools throughout the Metro East speaking with kids about financial topics. The program reaches more than 800 students each year and continues to grow.